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November 16, 2007

Roger Federer


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Watching the match tonight, having seen the other matches, the results of the last few months, should Andy Roddick be considered a sort of top-tier threat to you in terms of the way your games match up?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I would think so, yes. He was very close at the US Open. Today... Let's not overrate today's match, you know, because we both qualified, both could play freely, the whole thing.
Of course, I know that my game matches up well with his, but that doesn't mean I'm going to beat him all the time. Look what happened with González. You think you have a guy under control. It turns around, you know.
Andy has been trying many, many different things out against me. It's dangerous for me to play against him, especially with the guy having such a big serve.
Today I read it well. Sometimes conditions are quicker. Sometimes they're slower. Today was in my favor. I was impressed with my own performance actually.

Q. Now you play Nadal. The same semi as last year. Do you think it's better to play him in the semis three sets, five sets? What are your expectations for tomorrow?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm very excited to actually play against him. It's always nice to play against -- you know, the best two playing against each other in the last tournament of the season. It's a nice thing for everybody here: media, fans, players, for the entire tour, you know.
Of course, there's the final after, so you definitely have me or Rafa in the finals, which I think is good thing, too, I think. It's nice we both made it to the semis.
To play him over five sets or three sets is dangerous for both of us. We're both match tough and fit for five sets. I think it would have been nice to play over five sets, but the rules are the rules. We can't change them, so...

Q. Rafa said something in Madrid a couple weeks ago about he (cried?) a little bit after the Wimbledon final because he lost to you in the Wimbledon final. It was a very important match for him to challenge you in the No. 1 ranking, but he failed. Do you know about that? If not, what do you say about now?
ROGER FEDERER: Okay, I'll try to answer. I'm not a hundred percent sure if I understood.
Yeah, I mean, he was very close. Obviously, if he would have beaten me in Wimbledon. But then again I always have the first opportunity at the French Open or prior to that to break his clay-court streak, and actually I did, you know, in Hamburg. I was able to beat him. It was in some ways a breakthrough year for me, as well, beating Rafa on clay for the first time. I've beaten him on all surfaces now, which is a great thing for me to know anyway.
I haven't played him enough maybe on my home turf, grass, indoors, and so forth. But he's always been very tough on any surface, you know. It's normal we're always going to have close matches because he's such a great player. Now, of course, you know, it's very much the day for him that decides our outcome.
We've really been able to play at the very top for such a long time. We'll see what happens tomorrow and then, of course, next year again about the No. 1 position.

Q. I know you're not looking ahead to Australia, but I wanted to ask you about the new surface. Are you going to miss Rebound Ace? The new one they're putting down is like the one that was in Greece at the Olympics.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, maybe it's going to play similar to the Rebound Ace. Who knows. Honestly, I haven't heard anybody speaking about it yet, if it's quick or slow or whatever it is.
I remember Greece was very quick. Of course, that was best-of-three matches I played. I was behind in the score. I was out in a heartbeat against Berdych.
Now I'd still be happier to see a faster Grand Slam surface than a slower one. I thought Rebound Ace was, you know, pretty even for everyone because the slice stayed low, the kick went up. That always gives everybody a chance. Similar to this surface here, I think it's a fair court.
Yeah, I mean, I can tell you more once I've hit on it really.

Q. At one point, if we heard him right, Andy said something to you like, Don't worry, I'll get better. Obviously you want to win, but he was not on top of his game. Can you even feel a little for him in that kind of situation or you're just worried about winning?
ROGER FEDERER: No, I mean, I would like to joke a little bit more on the court as well, you know, but at the same time you don't want to let the guy come back into the match and next thing you know you lose the second set in a tiebreaker and you're down in the third or something.
I have to stay pretty much concentrated throughout. But I always enjoy playing against Andy, not just because I'm winning but because of the character he is on the court. He's great for our game. He's got an entertaining game, as well. He's big serving. He comes to the net. He keeps on attacking, even though sometimes he gets passed over and over again, you know.
He doesn't lose belief. I think that's great, his playing style. Sometimes he obviously interacts much more than I would, you know, with the fans. I think that's also fun for the other player. Anyway, I enjoy it.

Q. Rafa said today that if you play at the top of your game it will be impossible for him to beat you. Do you think he's trying to put all the pressure on you, or the surface here really makes you the favorite for this match, even like he is the clay court specialist?
ROGER FEDERER: Clay court specialist? I don't know. I think he's a bit more than that. Anyway, he's had most of his results on that surface, you know. He'll probably never become a grass court specialist, even if he wins it five times in a row, because his first success came on clay. That's the way things work out for you.
No, I think if I'm on top of my game indoors I am the favorite for the match. Like I said before, it matters on the day for him, and Rafa's always had the tendency to put the pressure on the other player. But I don't think he makes it intentionally. I just think he's got a lot of respect, and that's the way, yeah, he comes across.
I like Rafa a lot, you know. I'm excited about the match tomorrow. It's going to be entertaining, I think.

Q. You face the real prospect in the next year or so to break the record of total number of Grand Slam victories. Soon you're supposed to play in an exhibition against Pete Sampras. Do you ever imagine in your mind what it would be like to match up against greats of the past in a fantasy match where you're both playing at your prime? If so, do you have any sense of who would give you the best match or who would be the toughest to beat, Sampras, Laver, Borg, whoever? Secondly, I notice you miss a lot of line calls. You challenge the line calls. We found something you don't do very well. You challenge them. You seem to always get it wrong. Have you noticed that?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, when I play it's either in or out. The challenges are there to be used, so I don't care really if I lose that challenge or not. Gives me more time to breathe actually. That's the good part about the stupid rule, but anyway...
About playing the greats, I never really thought about it, to be honest, because I was never asked the question. Maybe a few years ago still. Now things have changed. They asked me who I would have played, who was my favorite player. I always said Becker, Edberg, and Sampras as well was my favorite player - and Rios actually the way he played.
But who would I have liked to play against? I mean, I probably would have liked to play any generation at their best. Honestly, I don't really need it. It's just nice to be compared to them. It's nice to compare generations for I think the media and the fans, to debate about it. I'm happy with my generation. A good group of guys. So was the past, as well.
I'm lucky enough I played against Sampras and Agassi, you know. So I hope that in the future I'll play against future champions and future Grand Slam heroes and superstars of the game. So that's why I try to stay in it for as long as possible.

Q. Do you come to a point sometimes where you feel sorry for Andy, so many times in a row facing you? I guess you've heard Andy Murray was separated from Brad Gilbert. There's already a lot of speculation saying that you might consider. Could you talk a little bit about that?
ROGER FEDERER: First question, no, I mean, look, would I feel sorry? Of course, he also gives an attitude sometimes of very much, you know, like disappointment. So sometimes you're like, Okay, sorry I hit that passing shot. But at the same time that's tennis. And he knows it, too. So it's not a problem.
He beat me in a big match, as well, when I was going for No. 1 in the world. I lost it 7-6 in the third, and that was my first opportunity to become No. 1 in the world. He didn't feel sorry for me back then either.
Now just because I've beaten him a few times doesn't mean I'm going to feel sorry. So, I mean, that's the way things turn out.
And with Brad Gilbert, I don't know.

Q. You said you were impressed with your own performance. What were you impressed most about it?
ROGER FEDERER: My variety. Came into the net nicely, volleyed off nice shots. I was really happy the way I came forward. You know, serve and volleyed, had a high percent of first serves. Really served very well. That was not to be expected, to be honest.

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